Acceptance

This post is going to be about acceptance, and is very long. I go into some very intense things. But I think that if any of my readers are having a hard time with not being accepted for who they are, this post may help you to see that you can still feel good about yourself in spite of whether or not others seem to accept you.

Acceptance of oneself and by others is a very important thing for any person, no matter how famous or popular they are. A person has to accept their self before they can expect anyone else to accept them. This usually comes from having what is called self-esteem. This trait is nurtured from the time a baby is born. If the baby does not receive positive reinforcement from others, they will never feel good about who they are.

Most of my problems with relationships with others stem from not having that positive reinforcement when I was growing up. Quite the opposite from positive reinforcement is what I received. In other words, negative reinforcement, if it can even be called reinforcement. It came in the form of the following statements. “You haven’t been wanted since the day it was known that you were going to be.” “You are not a young lady, you are a tom-boy.” “You are accident prone.” “You are my backwards child.” Also since I was very thin from not being able to hold down much of what I ate, and not wanting to eat much because of it, I had a few “nice little nick names” such as “Olive Oil”, “Skinny Minnie”, “Bean Pole”, and “Telephone Pole”. All of these names do not really make you feel good about yourself. So if I never received positive reinforcement to be able to build up my self-esteem, where was the self-esteem supposed to come from? I didn’t find out back then. It wasn’t until much later that I started feeling good about myself.

As a baby and a little girl, my hair was baby fine and poker straight. To have any curl in my hair, my Mother had to curl my hair in bobby pins every Saturday night to look pretty on Sunday at Sunday School and Church. My sister, on the other hand was born with beautiful, dark and naturally curly hair. She was always the favorite of the two of us. I would be dressed in plain cotton dresses, and my sister would be dressed in beautiful, lacy, velveteen dresses. On Sunday, I would be in a pretty dress though, with big, stiff, lacy, and curly slips underneath it to make it stick out. But I came up with ways to be noticed and feel good about myself.

To get attention when some relatives were visiting from out of town, and a lot of pictures were being taken of us four children, I can remember a picture that was taken when I was around four. My sister was in her usual beautiful, lacy, velveteen dress, and I was in a plain cotton dress, as usual. She was being held by one of the relatives, and they were making over her. I had a skinned knee. To make sure that I was going to be noticed in the picture, I got up on the rocking horse and pulled up the skirt on my dress to show my skinned knee. My two brothers were in their nice slacks and plaid shirts, one on either end of the horse. That picture got and still gets talked about every time anybody sees it. The first question is always, “Bonnie, why are you showing your skinned knee?” Usually followed by, “That just goes to show what a tom-boy you are, instead of a little lady. Little ladies don’t show their skinned knees.” Hard to build any self-worth from this kind of reinforcement. But, as usual, “by hook or crook, and heck or high water” as the older generation used to say, I managed to build some self-esteem from somewhere. Usually by “Tooting my own whistle.” I always told people that I had to do that, because if I didn’t do it my self, it was for sure that nobody else would toot it for me. I have always tried to be a good person and obey the Ten Commandments. In spite of it all, I do my best to stay positive and think good about myself. Everyday I try to recount the events of the day and find as many things that are positive as I can. And I say my prayers when I go to bed.

 Now to get back to the subject of self-esteem and other people giving you positive reinforcement. Unfortunately the other people need to be from all fields and or walks in life. This means that they need to be from family, friends, co-workers, and even from partners and, strange as it may seem, your doctors. Parents need to let their children know quite frequently that they are accepted and loved, no matter what they have done, or what they look like, be it fat or skinny, or short or tall. If a child doesn’t receive this from the start, then they grow up very confused and as some people put it, “afraid of their own shadow”. If anyone should know about this, I should. From the time I could walk and talk in sentences, I was told, “You haven’t been wanted since the day it was known that you were going to be.” There was no way, at that young age that I knew what that meant. When I became a young lady, I finally knew what that statement meant. At that point, I asked my Mother why she told me that. She told me that when she found out that she was expecting me, my real Father told her to fall down the steps and try to lose me. Obviously my Mother wanted me and did not do that. That made me feel good about myself.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, my sister and brothers told me that I was adopted because I was nothing like them. When I was 22 months old, I had to have major surgery on my head to remove a tumor that was pressing on my brain. I would wake up crying and screaming every time that I turned over on my right side. When I got older, my sister and brother would kid me that the navel doctors took out my brains and left the tumor in, and that was why I was so stupid, all the time.  However, I knew in my heart that I was a good girl and tried to always do whatever I was told to do. I also knew that I was not stupid. One phrase that helped me through the taunting was, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.” Believe it or not, the more I told myself that, the better I felt about myself. That self talk works wonders. You just have to concentrate on what you know to be positive about yourself.

During almost all of the way through elementary school, I didn’t have very many friends. As a matter of fact, my Mother used to tell my younger sister that if she wanted to go out to play she had to take me with her. She always hated that. So she would take me with her so that she could go out and play. Usually what happened would be that I would sit on the back steps of wherever we were while all the other kids played. Whenever I got up to play, they would either quit playing or else go someplace else to play. This in no way made me feel accepted or even liked, let alone loved by my sister. This was true until the sixth grade when I started babysitting. During that time, I did a tremendous amount of positive self talking.

Once I started babysitting, the parents that I babysat for liked me. I have always been good with babies and younger children. I just could never relate to anybody my own age. Unfortunately that has remained true most of my life. I do have a few friends, but not many when compared to most people. But the ones that I do have are true friends and not just “good weather friends”, that are only around when things are going good and they leave when you really need friends. They are there for me no matter what.

About the only time I had a lot of friends was when I joined an organization called Job’s Daughters. The full name is The International Order Of Job’s Daughters. I have never been as happy as what I was while I was active with that group. Once I became twenty years old, I reached what they called Majority Membership Age. When I actually turned twenty-one, I could no longer be active with them. I could have been one of the leaders, but I could not afford to make all of the trips that the girls take, so very sadly, I stopped going to the meetings. This is probably the main time in my life that I have really felt that I was accepted for who and what I was.

When I turned seventeen I was taken away from my abusive Step-Father and Mother. I went to a friend’s house as a live in babysitter. I graduated from High School barely in the top half of my class. After High School, I went to a Business College and graduated with honors with a Computer Programming Degree. I was no longer in an abusive situation and therefore was able to really concentrate on my studies. After finishing business college, I met a nice guy and we dated for a couple of years and we were married. I moved from Norfolk, Virginia to Lexington, Kentucky. Just about a month to six weeks after I was married, I found a job working at a bank. While working at the bank, I took banking classes through the American Bankers Association and the American Institute of Banking. I received all four certificates that were offered and some of the diplomas that were offered. I did so with honors. It wasn’t until after I ended up disabled and lost my job that I stopped taking classes and earning diplomas. After being disabled for over three years, I decided it was time to go back to college. So, at 41 years old, I started to the local community college. My major was going to be Respiratory Therapy. Unfortunately, I ended up in a wheelchair. It is sort of impossible to do respiratory therapy from a wheelchair. I had to change majors half the way through the program. Once again, I chose the computer field. Upon completion, I had an associates degree with honors in Computer Science and Computer Programming. It took three months after completing school to find a job. Once again, I found a job at a bank. That job only lasted for four years. Come to find out, I was too disabled to work due to having to have so many surgeries and therefore being absent too much. I got fired. I had never been fired in my life, and I had worked ever since I graduated.

My point in telling you the information about my schooling and my jobs has not been to brag about the degrees, diplomas, and/or certificates that I received, with honors, but to point out that it is possible to succeed against the odds.

Up until the last three or four years, I have mainly concentrated on getting and keeping myself well. That has proved to be a very hard job. However, I have found that with a laptop computer, even with being in the hospital and having surgery, it is possible to keep up several word press websites. At one time, I had as many as eleven websites. Many of them have been consolidated into this mammahen.com website. Believe it or not, I have started some new websites. Together, with the old websites and the new ones, I now have seven websites and am planning on starting two or three more. I guess you could say that I have the  word press, website blog bug.

Even though the doctors tell me I am not in good shape with all of the medical problems that I have, I tell them that, “I may be in bad shape, but I am in good shape for the shape that I am in.” I know that in my heart, I have to stay positive if I want any chance of making a difference in other peoples lives by telling my story. Granted, there are days that all I am able to do is stay in bed and rest. But even on those days, I am usually thinking up and writing down things to post on my blogs, as well as writing more poems. I have found that writing poetry is a great way to express my feelings, no matter what they are. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I too am sad and depressed when my different medical problems flare up. But the key is that I find something to be positive about in spite of the way I feel medically and physically. It may not be anything more that the fact that I can move my arms without hurting even if I am not able to get out of bed because of my back, my legs, or my dizziness. I can move my arms, which means that I can type on the computer and/or write a poem on a tablet.

So I will close by saying that it is very important to find something, no matter how small, to be positive about every day. If you haven’t given finding something positive a thought or a chance, try it. You may be surprised how much better it will make you feel. It may not make a big difference at first, but the more that you do it, the better you will feel. I know this to be a fact.

Horrendous Animal Abuse In California

If this doesn’t make you want to pass very strict felony laws for animal abuse, than nothing will. This has to be one of the most horrendous forms of animal abuse I have ever read about. Yes there have been animals cut apart and burned to death. But being cooked and then being fed to his girlfriend, the poor missing dog’s owner. This man needs to be put in prison and never be allowed out. No telling what he would do to humans if he got a notion to kill one. I have got to find out how to start an official petition to make animal abuse be a federal crime, in other words, a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor!

MAN COOKS EX-GIRLFRIEND’S DOG, FEEDS IT TO HER

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A California man stands accused of cooking his former girlfriend’s dog, and then dishing it up to her for dinner.
Ryan Eddy Watenpaugh, 34, of Shasta County, was arrested last Thursday. He denies serving the missing Pomeranian as a meal, but did admit to leaving the pup’s severed paws on his ex’s front porch.

According to a police report, the victim fought with Watenpaugh on August 4, then fled her apartment after he assaulted her. When she came back to see if the coast was clear, the suspect was gone — but so was her beloved dog, Bear.

About a month after the incident, the couple tried to reconcile. In what seemed like a nice gesture, Watenpaugh made his ex a delicious meal consisting of meat. On Sunday, the victim got a text message from her former boyfriend asking her what she thought of the feast prepared with her very own pet. The horrific message was followed up on Tuesday with a bag containing the dog’s paws, placed on her doorstep.

A search of Watenpaugh’s home uncovered an AK-47 assault rifle, along with plenty of ammo. He has been charged with animal cruelty, domestic violence, false imprisonment and stalking. The criminal chef is being held at the Shasta County Jail on $250,000 bond. Guess he’ll have to sit and stew in his own juices for a while.

Medical Update For 8/6/14 – 8/11/14

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014 I fell in front of my apartment.  As I was falling, I put out my hands to catch myself in order to avoid hitting my face on the ground.  Both of my hands and arms were hurt really badly.  At the time, I thought that I had broken both of my hands.  All I was able to do was to turn myself over and keep both of my hands on top of my chest.  My friends were there at the time and called 911.   All I could say was “I think I broke both of my hands and wrists.”  Due to the intense pain, I was unable to help in any way to get myself up off of the ground and onto the stretcher when the rescue squad arrived.  They ended up having to put a board under my back and pick me up that way to get me onto the stretcher.  I was then rushed to a local hospital to their emergency room.  Upon completion of the x-rays, I was told there were no broken bones.  Then a “but” was added to the equation.  As I had been in the emergency room on Friday with swollen legs and feet, in spite of having taken fluid pills for four days prior, and an ultrasound having been done to check for blood clots and none having been found, the doctors were afraid that the fall could have been due to blood clots in my lungs.

A specialized test was ordered to check for that possibility.   Every time that I was taken for x-rays or tests, a board had to be used to transfer me from the stretcher to the exam table.  This test was no exception.  After the test was complete, and they were starting to transfer me back to the stretcher on the board, before they could even get me onto the board, I guess I coded.  When I came to, the team was vigorously rubbing my chest and patting my hands and face while calling my name.  I would no sooner come back than I was out again.  This happened four times.  The doctors made the decision to admit me to find out what was going on.  I had to wait a few hours for a bed to open up before actually being taken to a room.  It was somewhere between 11:00 and midnight when I finally arrived in a room.  The accident had happened around 3:00 to 4:00 P.M.  As I was so exhausted from the pain and all of the transfers for the x-rays and tests, I fell asleep very quickly.  My friend Vlad had come to stay the night in my room to make sure that I would be alright.  I very much appreciated him doing that.  Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, and nothing had happened, my friend decided to go on back home.  I went back to sleep.  Apparently, that was when everything started to go wrong.  In a period of one hour, I had four seizures.  Immediately I was transferred to the ICU at the big hospital, where I was hooked up to an EEG, and EKG, a ventilator, an NG tube was inserted for nourishment, and I was sedated to calm down my system, and three IVs were started on me.  It was some time late Friday morning, or early Friday afternoon before I knew anything had happened, except for my friend going back home the morning before, which at that time I thought had been just hours before I woke up.  Almost immediately, my room filled with medical personnel.  The first thing they did was to remove the ventilator so that I could answer their questions, most of which, other than my name and birthday, I answered wrong.  The NG tube was not taken out until later that night or early the next morning.   The EEG remained hooked up until Saturday morning.  Between Thursday and Saturday morning, during the time the EEG was hooked up, I had a total of 23 seizures.

On the 28th of June, I had three seizures in 10 minutes, and was rushed to the hospital.  Before that time, I had not had a seizure in over eight or nine months, and had not even had to go to the emergency room, which was a record for me.  I have no idea what happened in my body on June 28th, but apparently whatever happened was not very good.  It has been one thing or another since then.   Now to get back to the accident on August 6th.

In the meantime, all of my injuries were changing many different shades of purple, blue, red, green, and yellow.  This was going on in my palms, down the insides of my wrists, on the tops of my hands and fingers, and on my knees and legs.  I looked like I had been attacked on the streets.  As I am right handed, and I could barely move my right arm, it was interesting at best trying to feed myself left handed.  Needless to say, I got more on my hospital gown than I got in my mouth.  At least that was how it seemed to me.  There were two exceptional nurses in the ICU, that had me as their patient, that really stood out to me.

Getting away from the accident for a little while, I have to tell you about one of my biggest medical problems that I have.  In November of 2,000, I had to have an artificial bladder constructed out of my intestines.  All of the other patients that received one at that time died within the first 2 to 3 years.  In November of this year, it will be 14 years for me.   At the current time I need to have reconstructive surgery done on the artificial bladder.  The bladder was supposed to have been what is called a continent diversion.  Meaning that it doesn’t leak.  Only problem being that mine leaks.  I have had to have foley catheters inserted into the opening in my abdomen since about two or three months after the surgery was done.  Even with that, it still leaks all around the catheters.  The artificial bladder was added on top of my regular bladder, therefore leaving the urethra intact, meaning I can still pass urine the regular way.  When all of this information is taken into effect, I can actually pass urine three ways.  Those being, through the catheter, around the catheter. and through the urethra.  As the reason for the artificial bladder in the first place was because I have a condition called neurogenic bladder, meaning I never know when I have to use the bathroom.  I will be wetting myself before I even know that I need to go.  Now just imagine this happening several times a day due to the IVs that I am receiving.  In a hospital setting, my wetting myself means the whole bed as well as my gown and the towel around the catheter, and the blankets.  This can be trying at best for the most patient of people.  I know that if I get tired of it happening, the nurses have to be getting even more tired of having to clean up after me so many times in a shift.

Now, back to these two nurses.  Their names are Amanda and Gwen.  Please don’t get me wrong, all of my nurses were great.  It’s just that these two went above and beyond the call of duty.  Usually there is a look, a sigh, or a certain mannerism that lets you know that whatever a person is having to do at a certain time is not what they in particular want to do.  When this happens, it in turn makes the patient feel very uneasy.  There was never a time when either of these two nurses exhibited any of those signs that made me feel uneasy.  Every time they came into my room to do anything for me, they were smiling and very cheery.  At no time did I ever feel uneasy about having to push the call button for them to do something for me.  They made what was a difficult time for me at best, be easier for me to handle.  The morning that the EEG machine was taken away, later that day Gwen even helped me to get a shower and wash my hair to get some of the contact solution for the electrodes out of my hair.  Afterwards, she also brushed it as best that she could for me.  She knew that I was unable to do either of these tasks with the injuries that I had received in my fall.  Both of them were always as gentle with me as they could be, so as not to cause me any undue amount of pain.  They were very careful not to hit or press on any of the injured areas, any more than what was absolutely necessary, whenever they did have to touch me .

On Saturday, after having my shower, I finally started feeling a little more human.  Feeding myself was still a challenge, with my right hand and arm being hurt so badly, and being right handed like I mentioned earlier.  It’s hard for righties to use their left hand, just like it’s hard for lefties to use their right hand.  Come Sunday morning, I was feeling much better, but still had not been out of the bed yet.  Well, low and behold if the doctors didn’t come in, early that morning, and tell me that I was being discharged a little bit later.  I almost passed out.  Immediately I rang for the nurse to tell her what the doctors had told me.  They agreed with me that there was no way I could, or should be released before I had even been up and walked around some.  I made up my mind that I was not going home until at least Monday, after I had walked around some in the room for a few times.  Monday when the doctors came in to discharge me, I was a little more agreeable with the idea of being discharged.  It was around 6:00 PM when I finally got home.

Most of the day Tuesday the 12th, I just lazed around the apartment.  Today, Wednesday the 13th, CareTenders/AlmostFamily came and got me into their program, and my first physical therapy session was done.  Tomorrow, I will have my first occupational therapy session, and repeat the physical therapy on Friday.  It’s grueling work, but it will be worth it in the end, when it’s all said and done, and I am back to my self again.  A lot can happen in just a few days, and sometimes just a few minutes.  I just have to trust and accept that whatever happens was God’s will for my life, and thank Him for it, and for bringing me through the fire to the other side.  Life is truly like the song I keep hearing says, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”  And the most important of all, my favorite quote of one of my own sayings, “I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in!”

 

 

 

 

 

Why Are Things So Hard?

I am starting writing this on Sunday the 13th of July, but don’t know when I will get finished with it.

It seems that everyday life for me just keeps getting more and more difficult. The more I want life to get better so I can have my surgery, and really start feeling better, the worse it gets. In my goal to get to 200, I was losing, and down to 241. Not two weeks later, and I’m up to 248.6. I have been so depressed since weighing myself, I don’t know what to do. Some days, it’s like, “What’s the use?”

I have been having so much trouble with my bladder, it’s just not funny. On July 8th, I was bleeding around the catheter so badly that it saturated a 5″ x 9″ ABD pad. It has bled many many times, but not as bad as on this day. I called the urologist office and made an emergency appointment to be seen. The appointment was made for Thursday morning the 10th of July at 9;40 AM. Come that morning, I was having diarrhea really bad. I called to cancel and was told the next available date was not until August the 14th. I tried to go, but didn’t even make it down the driveway before I had an accident on myself. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the appointment. My abdomen was hurting, and my temp was 99.9. They told me that if I got to hurting any worse, and my temp got to 100.0 or higher, to go to the emergency room. Thankfully, with taking a lot of Imodium, I stopped the diarrhea. I was able to go to my appointment to have my port flushed. The port has to be flushed every 30 days to keep it from getting clogged up.

I told them that my primary care wants me to have the port removed, but isn’t going to give orders to have it done until after my bladder surgery. She had talked to the urology department, and they told her that they were going to give me IV antibiotics, before and after my surgery, at home, with home health nurses coming to assist me. I told the nurse how hard of a stick I am, and that I have to be taken to the emergency room quite often, and they almost always have to do blood tests and give me fluids through the port. I also told her that about a year ago, I had to have the IV antibiotics, off and on for about a year, at home for my bladder. Then I also told her that I have to be admitted to the hospital a lot, and the port is used then for blood tests and fluids also. The nurse told me that even though I don’t have a chronic illness like cancer or kidney failure, that require almost constant IV medications, if there was ever anybody that needed a port, I am that person. She asked me how long I have had the port, and I told her that the port was placed on July 7, 2009. She said that she doesn’t know of anybody that has had one that long that is doing as well as I am, and the port definitely should not be removed. The primary care is afraid that I will get an infection, and it will go straight to my heart. The only way to prevent that from happening is to have the port removed.  The port goes directly into my right jugular vein, therefore the problem. The nurse is an oncology nurse, and she feels that if I was going to have trouble, I would have had it long before now.

This day was, Tuesday the 8th, I also took a stool sample to the lab. The stool was formed. I was not told until today, July 17th, that the stool could not be formed. I know these are not pleasant topics to talk about, but they are my life, and if I am going to portray to you the struggles that I have just living from day to day with my medical conditions, then I have to talk about them. I have continued to have the diarrhea, and it’s explosive. It was when I called the doctor’s office to see if the test results had come back yet that I was told about the formed stool, and that the lab had discarded mine as soon as they saw that it was formed. They were testing for a disease called c-diff. C-diff is short for some really long disease name. I have a chronic form of it, and therefore have diarrhea most every day. To my knowledge from the first time I ever had it, to have it chronically was not possible. The first time I had it, I was going like 19 times an hour. I was hospitalized for 10 days. When they told me what I had, I was told that I could die within 10 days if the disease was not brought under control. Luckily for me it was brought under control within the first 7 days. After I was discharged from the hospital, I was admitted to a nursing home for 3 weeks to build my strength back up. Before they discharged me, they told me, “We brought you through it this time, and we might be able to bring you through it the next time, but after that we don’t know.” I asked what would happen if I got it a third time. The answer was, “We will keep you comfortable.”, and I asked “Then what?” Once again they told me that they would keep me comfortable, to which I asked again what would happen then. Their answer was, “Well, then you die.” Needless to say, I wasn’t any too happy with that answer. So according to that answer, I should have died years ago, because that is how long I have had it off and on. .  I guess you could say then that I am a living miracle twice over. Once for living past three years with the artificial bladder, and once for living with CHRONIC C-DIFF, because I should have died the third time that I contracted it. But today I have to take in another sample to see if I have it yet again.

The sleep study that I had Tuesday night showed the sleep apnea, hypopnea – when my oxygen level drops down really low, and restless legs – my legs were moving every 30 seconds, (at least one of them was). I definitely need another C-PAP machine. Mine is really messing up a lot, and not wanting to come on correctly. The results of the study will show that I need it.

This afternoon, July 17th I should find out the answer about the c-diff. I was able to take a sample from 10;15 AM to the lab, and it was checked in at 11:04 AM, so I made it within the 1 hour time limit to get the sample to the lab. The doctor’s office put a STAT order on it, so it will be processed quickly. That way the doctor will know before they close today. If the test is positive for c-diff, then the doctor’s office will call in the appropriate medication for me to start taking to get well, at least for a little while.

When I was on my way out the door, there was a station checking for stroke risk factors. I had so many, it was comical to me, and I stated laughing about it. At that point I told them I was in bad shape medically, but physically I was in good shape for the shape I was in. The laughter on my part continued, and they just looked at me strangely, and then said, “Well, at least you have a good attitude about all of it, and a good attitude could make the difference in staying alive and dying in a bad situation.”So apparently, I still have an upbeat attitude about everything that is going on right now. Hearing them compliment me about my attitude toward everything made me feel really good about how I am actually doing, as opposed to how I have thought that I was doing. Obviously, when I go outside my own home, I do an about face, and put on an upbeat demeanor around outside people. Quite frankly, I don’t know if that is a good thing, or a bad thing.There is hope against all hope that it is a good thing.

Well, that’s about all for now. Guess I’ll stop here. I will post again after I find out if I do have c-diff again, and let you know what they are going to do for me this time.

Finishing College And Working While Being Disabled

After finishing college, it took me from January 2, 2000 until March 20, 2000 to find a job. I found a job at a large bank in town. It was not very easy to start work, because by the time I started work, I had leg braces, wrist braces for carpal tunnel in both wrists, a metal back brace that was covered in leather with Velcro straps, a face mask, and was riding on a scooter. I had to get special permission, with a note of medical necessity, to wear culottes because of my leg braces. Regular slacks were too tight around my legs. Also with my bladder problem, I had to use a belly bag, as I could not use the 2,000 cc overnight drainage bag that I usually wore. The bag could not be seen in public while at work. I also had to have a doctor’s note to be able to go to the restroom every hour and a half to two hours to empty the bag, as it only held half as much as the regular drainage bags. Unfortunately, every now and then, the bag would spring a leak and totally soak me necessitating my going home to change clothes. After about three times of this, I started keeping a bag in my van with an extra change of clothes, so I would not have to go home each time there was an accident. Even then, it was very embarrassing. Each accident required around an hour, to go to the van to get the clothes, change my clothes, then take the wet clothes back down to the van, and come back to my desk. But even with all of that, my supervisor told me my numbers were better that those that had been working there for a few years, and I had only been working there a few months.

By October, it became evident that I was going to have to have a knee replacement, which was planned for December of 2000. In the meantime, my bladder situation was also getting worse. The catheter was rubbing on the inside of my bladder and making it bleed. The doctors were afraid that if they didn’t do something, the catheter would puncture my bladder, and if I didn’t get medical treatment very quickly, I could be dead within 24 hours, from perintonitis from all of the poison that would be released into my abdomen. That is when the decision was made to fashion an artificial bladder out of a section of my intestines. The date was set for November 2, 2000. The reason being that I had to have the bladder surgery before I had the knee replacement. If I had the bladder surgery after the knee replacement, and got an infection in my knee, I could lose my leg,  because the infection would settle in the bone. The bladder surgery was done as planned. I was in intensive care for only one day, even though I had been told I would be in there for four days.  I ended up going into kidney failure. I was in the hospital a total of three weeks. My dear parents came once again to help me recuperate from the surgery. Every time I had surgery, they were there to help me recuperate. Nurses had to come to my house twice every day to irrigate the incision and change the bandages. I was allergic to the tape, so they had to use what was called Montgomery Straps, that were put on my skin with a special skin prep and adhesive, and they had holes in them like shoes for shoe strings, and I was laced up to keep the bandages in place. They did this for a month, until time for the knee replacement surgery. The knee surgery was set for the first week in December of 2000. It was during the knee surgery that I had to have my first blood transfusions. I was in the hospital where I had the surgery for about 5 days, and then sent to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital for intense therapy to recuperate from the knee surgery. In the meantime, the surgery site from the bladder surgery was still healing as well. Every two hours, the nurses had to insert a catheter into the opening, which was in my navel, and almost made me sick just to think about it, so it could be irrigated to keep the opening what they called patent or open. Unfortunately, the opening closed up on December 15, and an indwelling catheter had to be inserted into the urethra. This had to stay, only being changed once a week, until I got clearance on my knee to have another bladder surgery. In the meantime, the nurses had to come back until I had the next surgery, and until I was released to return to work. That clearance came in late February, and surgery was planned for March 18, 2001. Even with having received clearance on my knee, I had to be placed in a special room that had a specific kind of purification system in it. All the employees had to wear gowns, gloves, and masks to come into my room. This included the cafeteria people with my meal trays. The bladder was repositioned, and the opening was put about two inches over and two inches down from my navel, and the opening in my navel was surgically closed up. I was finally allowed to return to work on April 18, 2001.

The opening was supposed to be what was called a continent diversion, meaning that it wouldn’t leak. At first this was true. I had to do what was called an in and out catheterization and irrigate the bladder at the same time. I bought five bags and equipped them with all the supplies necessary to accomplish this task. The opening was fine at first. After about three months, it started leaking some, and I had to start wearing ABD pads over it. Before too long, this was not working either. The doctors made the decision that I had to start keeping an indwelling catheter in the artificial bladder at all times. It was to be irrigated twice a day, and changed every three weeks. I had to start using the belly bags again, and carrying an extra change of clothes to work every day again as well. But I still stayed, or tried to stay, upbeat about the whole situation. There were just some days that this just was not possible, much to my dismay.

Things settled down with my bladder situation, once I got into a routine, and got everything down to a science. My friends were amazed at how efficiently I had everything set up that I needed to maintain my bladder care. I was coming right along with the rehabilitation on my knee as well. I was doing things exercise wise in six weeks that I wasn’t supposed to be able to do until after six months. The doctors were amazed. I was just that determined to get better and go back to work. I had to prove that being disabled wasn’t going to keep me down.

Once I got back to work, things were going really well. In May I had to have a calcification removed from the opening to the artificial bladder(or stoma as it is actually called). Things couldn’t be better, as a matter of fact. Then in October of 2003, I started having trouble with my left thumb, and my left index finger. The doctor did surgery on both that month. The tumor was removed from my thumb, and the nerve surgery was done on my left index finger. The two surgeries meant that when I went back to work that next Monday( the surgeries had been done on Friday afternoon to avoid missing any more work than what was absolutely necessary), both fingers were bandaged with one big bandage. Then in June of 2004, nerve surgery had to be done on both again. In August of 2004, a partial amputation had to be done on my left index finger, from where I had caught it in my car door. Then in November of that same year, the toilet seat at work was loose, and when I went to clean myself the seat slipped, my right arm was caught and got broken. When I came back to work, and went to my desk, I was told that I needed to gather my stuff and go back home, that I no longer worked there. I was shocked, and it showed on my face. When I asked why, I was told that I had missed too much time from work with all of my surgeries, accidents, and illnesses. They told me that they needed an employee that was going to be there to work, not one that was absent all the time for medical reasons. So in essence, I lost my job because I was too handicapped or disabled, whichever word you want to use. I couldn’t believe it.

 

Disabled And Attending College

By 1993, the doctors had the “magic” combination of medications to keep me pretty stable with my asthma. I was under Vocational Rehabilitation from about the sixth month of my disability. In May of 1993, thanks to them, I started back to school. I started going to Lexington Community College, studying Respiratory Care. I knew how much the respiratory therapists had help me every time I was rushed to the hospital with my asthma attacks, and I too wanted to help other people that way. I had to wear a face mask so I wouldn’t catch anything from other people. Being on Prednisone, my resistance was low. If someone else had a cold, and I caught it, it would go into pneumonia on me. I was also lugging the Oxygen tanks behind me. But I was determined to complete college. No sooner had I started school than I found out I was diabetic. Diabetes is a possible bad side effect of the Prednisone, and I was lucky enough to have that side effect. The first side effect was bad enough. I gained 100 pounds in the first 6 months after starting on the Prednisone. Needless to say, I didn’t want anymore side effects.

I was accepted into the Respiratory Care Program. Out of 300 that applied, I was number 3 to be accepted. With all of my doctors appointments, I was only able to go half time, so it took me twice as long to do the studies.It was in November of 1994 when I was accepted. I was so happy. My happiness didn’t last too long. My knees gave out in January of 1995, and I ended up in a wheelchair. Well, you can’t do respiratory care from a wheelchair, the CPR part, when someone isn’t breathing due to an asthma attack, is what I’m talking about.

I have to sidestep here for a little bit.

I had to have a wheelchair ramp put onto the front of my apartment so I could get the wheelchair in and out. This had to be with the permission of the landlady because the ramp would be permanent. She gave me permission, and I paid a company $600 to build it. I had been given an Olds Calais, in 1993, by some really dear friends, when my car quit on me. I was driving the car with the manual chair and Oxygen tanks. The chair had Oxygen tank holders on it. Well in August of 1996, I had to have surgery and ended up in leg braces. I found out, after I was allowed to drive again, that the braces made it almost impossible for me to turn the steering wheel very well. I was afraid to drive that way, and so I traded in my beautiful car that I loved, for an Econoline Van. An F150 to be exact. The car was a 1990, and the van was a 1986. The car had only 94,000 miles on it, and the van had 149,000 on it. I wasn’t doing myself any favors. I had nothing but trouble out of the van.  Well, I got a piece of plywood, and used it as a ramp, to get the chair up into the van. This worked really well. The doors opened in the back, so I never had to worry about not being able to get the chair out of the side.

In March 22, 1997, while I was in the hospital, my bladder decided to quit on me. I had gone from 7:30 in the morning until 10:00 at night without going to the bathroom. I told the nurse when I realized that. They had to catheterize me. They got out a total of 2,800 cc of urine. A normal bladder holds 600 cc when full. The nurse told me I was lucky that my bladder had not ruptured. This was on my birthday of all days. I had to have an indwelling catheter until April 18, 1997 when they did surgery and placed one in my lower abdomen, going straight into my bladder. This was to be a permanent solution for my neurogenic bladder. In August of 1997 I found I couldn’t manipulate the manual wheelchair any more, due to having to go into an arm brace on my right arm. I had to go to a scooter. I had to have more surgery on my legs during that month also. My parents came to help me out after the surgery. God bless my Pop, he was so sweet. He made a ramp going into the back of my apartment, and one for the van. I would push the scooter up into the van while guiding the handle bars by reaching over the back of the seat. One day, my abdomen was hurting really bad. I looked at the scooter, and I looked at the ramp. Well, I decided I was going to ride the scooter up the ramp and into the van, The scooter and ramp had other ideas, The scooter went back down the ramp and flipped on its back ,and the next thing I know, I’m looking at the sky, laying on my back, and my books are everywhere. I was in the parking lot at school. Two men, on different sides of the parking lot saw the accident and came running. They helped me up, gathered my books, and put the scooter into the van. They surveyed the situation, looked at each other and said to each other, “I would have done the same thing.” I called my Voc Rehab counselor immediately. She made arrangements for me to meet her and some other people, that make decisions about lifts for vehicles, and their necessity, the next morning at a dealer that installed lifts. That morning it happened to be raining. They asked me to show them how I usually got the scooter into the van. I proceeded to show them, and started pushing the scooter up the ramp. Well, to my surprise, I started slipping down the ramp with the scooter coming at me really fast. Everybody jumped and one of the guys caught the scooter just before it hit me. They decided right then that a lift was going to be installed into my van. The whole back seat had already been taken out, and I was using it for my couch. The lift was a claw lift. There was a little T rod under the scooter, and there was a claw that went under the seat and grabbed the T rod.

Now to go back to what was happening at school.

I had to change my major. To my knowledge, about the only major to pick that could be done from a wheelchair was computer programming.  That meant starting all over with my studies again, because all I had taken up to that point was medical courses. So I did. Here again, I wasn’t going to let that keep me down. I was determined to finish college, and go back to work. It ended up taking me 6 and 1/2 years to finish a two year program, but I did it.

Somewhere in the middle, I got so I could not handle the manual chair because of my arms, and had to go to a scooter.

I received a few awards while there. The Athena Club is a club for Disabled, or as we said, Differently Abled, people. While being a member of that club, I held three offices, Secretary, Treasurer, and President. An award was given to me for different activities that I had while in that club, such as a Halloween Party for the children at Shriner’s Hospital, collecting items for a silent auction, and starting a memorial fund for one of the students that was a member of the club. He was killed due to an automobile accident right out in front of his dorm. He was crossing the street in his power chair, and was almost all the way across. He only had one more lane to go. There was a car that was stopped to let him finish crossing the street, when out of the blue the car behind it came out and sped around in front of it and hit him broadside. The impact threw him out of his chair about 30 feet in the air, and knocked his chair about the same distance sideways. It was a miracle that he even lived at all.  The hospital had reported that he was improving everyday, and then all of a sudden he got a blood clot and passed away. I did not want his death to be in vain, so I started a book memorial, in his, name for other disabled students. A different student each semester would receive a Scholarship, in a certain amount, toward their books.

There were also some other things I did that benefited the students. After I first started attending there, I kept noticing signs saying FOR EMERGENCIES CALL 333. On one particular day I was having chest pains, and had taken my three nitroglycerine tablets as I had been instructed. One every five minutes, and if after three, there wasn’t any relief, call 911. Well I had learned the hard way that if I got too excited about the situation, it only made the chest pains worse. So I very calmly called the instructor over to me and told her to call 333, and she did. When the phone was answered on the other end, she was told that the 333 was only for mechanical emergencies around the school, and that she needed to call 911, which she then proceeded to do. When the ambulance arrived, as I walked down the steps to it, another student carried my Oxygen tanks, and the instructor was surprised at how calm I was. I told her I had learned to stay calm, that getting excited only made things worse. Well the next day when I got to school, there were signs all over the place FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES CALL 911, in big RED letters.

The next thing I tackled was paying for parking in the summer. Every summer the parking for regular students was free, bur handicapped students had to pay for their parking. When I asked, WHY?, I was told, “THOSE SPACES HAVE TO BE MONITORED 24 HOURS A DAY.”  I replied that the practice was not fair to the disabled students, because those spaces had to be monitored even if there were no disabled students attending summer school. Then I went on to ask them who paid for the monitoring in that situation? Well, the school does, was the answer. Then I asked if the school had to pay for it anyway, why did the disabled students have to pay and the regular students didn’t, and pointed out that the practice was discrimination against the disabled students. After that the disabled students didn’t have to pay for parking in the summer any more.

Last but not least, the other thing that was changed due to my intervention was where the students could smoke. There was a roof over the handicapped entrance where the automatic doors were, by the handicapped parking area. Students would congregate under the roof to keep out of all of the elements, be it sun, cold, rain, or snow. Many times when I would come in there, I couldn’t hold my breath long enough to get through the doors. I would end up having an asthma attack, and be very angry about it. There was a big circle in the middle of the area designating it as a NO SMOKING area. I reported it to the President of the college. At first he couldn’t do anything about the students smoking there. They just wouldn’t listen to what anybody said, about them not being supposed to smoke there. Well I ended up being outfitted with a respirator mask, that had the two big filters that screwed onto either side. The school paid for the mask and said they would also pay for the filters every time they needed to be changed. The filters weren’t cheap. They cost $110 for the two of them, every 3 weeks. The mask was very bulky, both to wear and to have to carry around with me all day. There are no lockers at college. I contacted a local news station about the situation. They had a spot called — On Your Side, where the numbers of the station were in the blanks. I made them aware of what was going on, and they came out and did a segment about the whole situation. After that, and for as long as I went there, the smokers no longer congregated under the roof. It is my opinion that not having to walk through a wall of cigarette smoke, every time you entered the building, had to benefit other people besides just me. Because of my efforts to make the school a better place, I was given a leadership award. Due to my tenaciousness about not giving up, I was also given a Presidential Award from the President of the college. Needless to say, I am proud of my accomplishments, as the saying goes, “against all odds”, because I sure had some odds to have to hurdle to complete my degree.

The last month that I attended college, my actual finishing date, the President of the college was so impressed with me, “not giving up against all odds”, that he gave a reception in my honor, and even had the media there. I received a Lexington Community College clock, on a piece of wood shaped like Kentucky. Those clocks can’t be bought. The only way to get one, is to be given one. He also nominated me for the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, at The University Of Kentucky. This award is the most prestigious award a person can receive at the university, so to even be nominated was an honor in and of itself. No graduation ceremonies were conducted in December, so I had to wait until May. That day I had had to be rushed to the hospital with chest pains and an asthma attack, from work. They were surprised to see me come back after the hospital stabilized me. I told them that there was no way that I was going to miss my graduation ceremony. I attended the ceremony and had my picture taken as I was receiving my diploma from the President of the college. And I will be darned if all the smoking in the halls didn’t make me have another asthma attack. The rescue squad had to come and get me out of my van in the parking lot. I had to change clothes under my graduation gown while I was waiting. An instructor helped me, and stayed right with me until the ambulance got there. The parking monitors were notified as to what had happened so my van would not be towed. Thankfully, everything worked out just fine.

Becoming Disabled

I basically watched my sister’s three children grow up for the first several years. I was there almost every six months starting in 1983 when the first child was born up until 1990 when I got asthma, bronchitis, and micoplasm pneumonia in both lungs, all at the same time when I was there in March. The day that I was supposed to be flying back home, my sister sent me to the urgent treatment clinic to get my ears checked out. She told me that if I had an ear infection and flew in the plane, it could burst my ear drums and make me deaf. When I got to the clinic, they said they weren’t worried about my ears, that they were worried about my lungs. They gave me a shot of adrenaline in my arm, and waited 20 minutes. After 20 minutes they came back and listened to my lungs again, and gave me a shot of adrenaline in my other arm, and waited another 20 minutes. After 20 minutes they repeated the procedure, but went back to my first arm, and waited another 20 minutes. After this 20 minutes they told me to get myself home while I could still drive and gave my a lot of instructions to follow for the next two weeks. I told them I couldn’t stay any longer, that my plane left that afternoon. They told me I wasn’t going anywhere. Then they went on to tell me that with a medical excuse, the airline had to give me another ticket once the doctors released me to go home. So I went back to my sister’s house.

At the time I was supposed to be boarding the plane, I was calling 911. I was sitting there talking to my sister, and all of a sudden I started going numb. The first rescue personnel ti arrive was a fire truck. The firemen came in with their hats on. A fact which thrilled all my sister’s children, and the children that she watched during the day. That evening when their parents came to pick them up, the first thing they said was, “Firemans were here with their hats on”, to which my sister had to quickly explain what had happened. She called our Mother who came to the hospital as soon as she got off work. My sister came as soon as all the children had been picked up and her husband got home to take care of her children. When my Mother got there, she found me with tubes and machines attached to me everywhere, and she immediately passed out. They put her in the cubicle and bed next to mine. When my sister arrived, she asked where our Mother was, and I pointed to the next cubicle over. My sister just shook her head. The doctors told me I was pretty sick. There is something called Theophylline in our blood. The level is usually 11 – 13, mine was 3. So I had to start taking shots and pills for it, as well as have breathing treatments. I was told that I had to start seeing an asthma doctor as soon as I got home. I wasn’t discharged until late that night, and went back to my sister’s house.

My terrific brother-in-law helped to take care of me. He saw to it that the vaporizer was full every morning and every night, and saw to it that I had supper every night. My sister was busy with three children, from six years old to two years old. So she had her hands full with them, and didn’t need a sick sister to boot. I was there another two weeks. It was April and after Easter by the time I was able to leave.  I came home, but still had a very persistent cough. When I was coughing, I couldn’t even talk. This was bad because I worked a full time job at a bank in the trust department, and a security job on the weekends.  I worked 60 – 70 hours every week, and couldn’t afford to be sick. Or so I thought. I was being rushed to the hospital every 7 to 10 days with asthma attacks so bad I couldn’t breath. Needless to say, you can’t keep a job but so long doing that. Lo and behold, on June 9, 1990 I lost both jobs. I was heartsick. I had worked at the bank since 1974, when I came here after getting married. I had worked at the security job since 1986. I enjoyed both jobs, and the two jobs didn’t slow me down a bit.

After losing both of my jobs,I went to an asthma doctor as I had been told by the doctors in Norfolk,VA. Up until that time, I didn’t want to admit that I was as sick as I apparently was. They started me on breathing treatments using a nebulizer. I had to carry it everywhere, so I could do the treatments whenever I needed to.  After a few months, the doctor realized that the treatments alone were not enough. I was started on Oxygen. There was a concentrator at my house, in my bedroom, and a large, 4 and 1/2 foot tall Oxygen tank, in case the electric went off. I didn’t want to have to stay in my bedroom all the time, so I connected several lengths of tubing with connectors called Christmas Trees(because of their shape and green color), long enough to go all through my house. I used Christmas Tree Light Holders to wind the tubing up and let it out as the case may be as I went through the house. When I left the house, I had to carry portable tanks with me in a special rolling cart. Here too, I added lengths of tubing together so I could go bowling. Everybody thought I was nuts. But I wasn’t going to let it keep me down. I did, however, have to start taking the wheels bus for transportation, as I didn’t have a dependable car, and I couldn’t walk the long distance to the bus stop.

 

 

 

 

Medical Update From July 1, 2014

I saw my primary care today, and a lot of things were discussed. She ordered a lot of blood work for tomorrow, because I have to be fasting. During the discussion the following things came up: the diffusion in my lungs is low making not enough oxygen go to my blood stream, so I have to have a CT Scan of my lungs; the problems I’m having with my bladder could be an indication that my kidneys are failing, the blood test will give her the answer;  since I had a problem with seizures on Saturday, I have to start back on my anti-seizure medication and get an appointment with the neurologist; for the last three weeks, every few days I have been passing blood when I have a BM, that means that I have to get an appointment with gastroenterologist to have an endoscopy and a colonoscopy done under sedation, to see where the blood is coming from and he will do them both on the same day; as the urologist will do IV antibiotics at home for a couple of weeks before my bladder surgery and for a week or two after the surgery, the port in my chest will stay in for the time being; as I am overweight and diabetic, I have to see a diabetic weight loss nutritionist to help me with my weight loss so I can have the surgery, I have to get from 241 down to 200 before they will do it. That’s enough things to keep anybody busy for a long time and seeing a lot of specialists. Sometimes I get so tired of being sick and having to see so many doctors and take so much medicine. But I usually try to stay upbeat about it. Even though I have to stay near to the University Of Kentucky Hospital where most of my doctors are. They know my extensive medical history and what to do in any emergency that might come up, whether it be a ruptured artificial bladder, a seizure, or another heart attack. I have to be rushed to the hospital so much, even the ambulance drivers know who I am and most of my medical problems. And that’s saying a lot, because I have a lot of medical problems.

 

 

My Health Must Be Getting Worse

On Saturday, the 28th of June, I had three seizures in less than 10 minutes. My friends called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital. The doctors were thinking it could also be small strokes. It was around 5:30 PM when they took me and sometime Sunday morning when they released me to go home. While at the hospital, I had blood work done on me, and they also did a CT scan of my head. Surprisingly enough, everything came back normal. They gave me a prescription to start back on my anti-seizure medicine, and an antibiotic for the abscess. Until about three days earlier, I hadn’t had a seizure in over 6-8 months. I had even stopped taking my medicine, I was doing so well. And so far as the abscess goes, I hadn’t had one in over 18 months or more. There for about two years, I was getting abscesses every couple of months. Needless to say, I am sort of bummed out about it.

I see my primary care later today, and have to get a referral to the neurologist about the seizures. My finger tips have started splitting open again, so I will have to find out if my Vitamin D3 is low again.  And to think I hadn’t been to the ER since January of this year, the longest I had been without having to go in many years. I really thought this was going to be my “well” year. Guess not.

On the 24th of June I wrote about how my artificial bladder had been acting up. Well lo and behold if I didn’t soil everything Saturday night while I was at the hospital. Luckily I was in a hospital gown, so I didn’t soil my gown. But embarrassingly enough I had to wear an adult diaper home, because my underclothes did get soiled. Something tells me I am getting ready for another roller coaster ride, that unfortunately is my life. This ride is going to be the hardest one yet, what with so many different things acting up on me again now. I just pray to God that I will be able to hang on for the whole ride and not fall off. I hope when all is said and done, I will be able to write poems about the ride and once again start laughing about it. Of course, only time will tell.

 

Future Plans For Mamma Hen Website

As I have been through a lot of different situations medically, I feel like I just may be able to help others by writing about them here.  I know in many of the things that I have been through, I always felt better just knowing that I was not the only one that had had that particular medical problem.  When you are going through something and feel like you are all alone, it helps being able to find out how other people have handled the particular thing you are going through.  Sort of like when women with children get together and talk about their different birth experiences.  This is especially true of first time Moms wanting to talk to someone that has been through what they are getting ready to go through.

I plan on trying to focus on one medical problem at a time with each of my personal blogs. I will continue to copy and paste different articles and/or information of interest that other people post on Facebook. My goal is to try to go into as much detail as I can with each post. That way anybody that reads it will have basic knowledge of how at least one other person handled going through what they are going through.  The future posts will be titled with the particular medical problem that I am going to tackle for that day. On a few of the medical conditions that require only one paragraph to describe, I will probably post more than one condition on that day.  The way I will decide is by going down my extensive list of medical problems and pick out ones that I feel other people will benefit from by knowing the experience someone else had with the same medical condition.

This post I am going to write about two similar sounding medical conditions that don’t have very many side effects to them:  vitiligo and vertigo.

Many people have probably heard of vertigo. This condition is where a person is unable to handle heights. If they go to high floors in buildings, and can see out, they may become very anxious and even have an anxiety attack. The anxiety may also produce excessive perspiration.   Usually there is much dizziness involved, possible nausea, and the person may even pass out, especially  if by chance they are hyperventilating. For some people, taking motion sickness medicine will help with the dizziness and nausea.  Other people may have it severe enough that they will need prescription strength medicine. For myself, when it starts getting really bad, I take dicyclomine.

The medical condition of vitiligo is fairly innocuous so far as side effects go.  The only two side effects that I have are a lack of pigment (coloration) in different areas on my skin, and slight excessive pigmentation in other areas on my skin.  About the only thing I do for it is self talk that I am the way God wanted me to be, and try not to listen to what other people say. But then mine is not very bad or noticeable.  The main place I have mine is under my arms, and it only shows when I’m inside with a sleeveless top on.  Since I very seldom wear sleeveless tops, and when I go outside, I have to wear long sleeves, it’s seldom a problem.  From what I have read and seen on TV, there are cosmetics that can be worn to cover up the areas if a person is really self conscious and uncomfortable with the areas showing.